Severed arm in LaPlace leads to murder arrest, additional found body parts

Published 12:41 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2017

KENNER — The Dec. 29 recovery of a severed human arm in LaPlace helped lead police to a murder arrest and the positive identification of the victim, authorities said.

Kenner Police Chief Michael J. Glaser and St. John the Baptist Sheriff Mike Tregre announce the arrest Tuesday of Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa, 44.

Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa

Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa

Perez-Espinosa, who is from Cuba; is charged with second degree murder and obstruction of justice.

On Dec. 29, the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Office located a severed human arm at mile marker 202.9, near the Reserve Canal at I-10 Eastbound.

DNA testing of a plug taken from the arm revealed this was the arm of Ivis Alexis Portales-Lara, 27, Kenner police said.

Since that time, detectives have conducted additional searches of the Reserve Canal, utilizing cadaver dogs, under water drones and sonar.

Additional body parts have been recovered, authorities said.

As of noon Tuesday, Viusqui J Perez-Espinosa remains in custody and no bond has been set.

The arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted since November by the Kenner Police, St. John Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Offices in New Orleans and Jefferson.

The investigation began Nov. 13, when family members of the victim, Ivis Alexis Portales-Lara, 27, reported him missing to Kenner Police. Portales-Lara was last seen at 6 p.m. Nov. 11 while inside the La Belle Maison Apartments on Baylor Street in Kenner. At the time, Portales-Lara was reported missing, he had failed to pick up his child for his scheduled weekend visitation, missed church, missed appointments with friends and was unable to be reached by telephone or text messages.

On Nov. 15, detectives met with other family members and Portales-Lara’s church pastor and learned he did not show up to work Nov. 14 or Nov. 15. It was during that time, authorities said, it was learned roommate Perez-Espinosa had given family members and the pastor different versions of where Portales-Lara may have gone.

In addition, authorities said it was learned Perez-Espinosa was jealous of Portales-Lara due to the fact he was romantically involved and living with a former girlfriend of Perez-Espinosa.

Detectives responded to the apartment complex to interview the girlfriend and Perez-Espinosa. Upon arrival, detectives were invited inside the apartment. While inside the apartment, detectives began noticing what appeared to be a red blood like substance on the floor.

In addition, detectives also observed a substance believed to be blood splattered on the wall in the hallway, bathroom and hall closet doors. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment and discovered a larger pool of blood inside the apartment indicating an apparent struggle inside the apartment and the loss of a large quantity of blood. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory determined through DNA testing that the blood was the blood of Portales-Lara.